#GrilBoss has been trending for a while. It had always struck me as a good slogan. Women Empowerment is suuuuuuper important to me! Girls and women taking back what belongs to them – power, autonomy, choice – is beyond necessary. It’s a serious issue that cannot be taken lightly. Women’s Rights still need to be fought for. Just look at Alabama. We are still on the battlefield, people!
There’s a sexiness to Girl Boss. Not the kind that is about pleasing someone else, or the old school degrading kind of sexy. It’s not an ad for a marijuana vaporizer pen on a billboard on Sunset Blvd, with young, skinny women in lingerie, holding a goat (Have you seen those billboards around LA? Insert eye roll. Marijuana becoming legal represents progress in so many ways, but when a brand of marijuana products uses this kind of advertisement, it takes us back, not forward. And that’s just too bad. But I digress…). Girl Boss is hot because it’s about taking charge.
I have a daughter. She’s six and a half. Raising her as a strong, independent, and powerful individual is very important to us.
Kindness is also really important to us.
What I’m beginning to realize, is that the Girl Boss movement is followed by a dark shadow, as I watch it hovering over some of the faces of current and future women.
We hear about how giving young girls the message that they need to always be nice can mess with them. How girls have been told not to be bossy, which has caused generations upon generations of women to become afraid of causing conflict, or making waves, or challenging authorities. And how it has affected the space women take in the market place. We are aware now of how “being nice” and not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, has made girls and women more susceptible to sexual predatory.
It is infuriating that a woman has less of a chance than a man to be in positions of power professionally. It’s kind of unbelievable that women have to work so much harder to prove themselves in order to become bosses. Thankfully we are changing that. And yet we have so much work still ahead of us.
But here is the deal: teaching girls (or boys, obviously) to actually BE bossy is not going to make for a better future. It’s not going to heal what is ill in our society. And it isn’t going to empower the feminine.
In my daughter’s class we’ve been noticing a trend of bossy girls. They tell other kids what to do, threatening to no longer be friends if they don’t follow. They try to control, manipulate, and gain power by putting others down. I must say, if this is the future, it ain’t bright.
Professionally, a boss is someone who is in charge. A kid (or an adult for that matter) who is being bossy with their peers, is a bully.
I know that this is a part of childhood, and that they are learning social skills by trying to figure out their place in the world. But I think that because we want our girls to grow up knowing their worth, and because we want them to be leaders, some of us may idolize and emphasize the Girl Boss theme.
Some of those girls take pride in being bossy. Which probably means that the message they get at home is that bossy is good. Bossy is strong. Strong will take you places. I get where this is coming from. And I think it’s tremendously important to empower our daughters! But there’s a difference between supporting our children in developing the skills and the strengths that will help them advance in life, and guiding them to become power hungry, greedy, products of the toxic components of both the masculine and the feminine.
We see how patriarchy has painted the picture of power through the lens of scarcity mentality, how we’re taught that the position that holds the most power can only be held by one individual, and how we’re told the lie that in order to be the CEO you gotta be an asshole. We have been watching and learning that in order to get to the top we must step over others.
(GOT Spoiler alert for the next paragraph:)
I’m not gonna get into details here, but the latest episode (#5 of in the last season) gives us the ultimate sexy, empowered, badass Girl Boss Gone Bully. She doesn’t get what she wants, and she feels like she’s not in control, so she burns down the kingdom. Sometimes we need to burn the motherfucking house down! But to scorch everyone who lives in it, just because we feel unheard or unseen, is a different story. We don’t want our daughter to be a princess in a castle, waiting for a prince to come along and save her. We want our daughters to ride their dragons into the battlefield! But we should definitely teach them how to train their dragons.
(Spoiler is now over. You can continue to read safely).
We don’t have to always be nice. But we need to take other people’s wants, needs, and feelings into consideration. Our voices must be heard! But if we squish other voices with our own, then what the fuck are we doing? We don’t want to teach our daughters to be submissive, but if we encourage bossiness, they are likely to use it to dominate and put down other kids.
What if instead of raising a boss, we raised a leader? A boss is someone who tells others what to do. A great leader will invite them to think about what needs to be done. A bossy person will rise above others. A great leader will raise others. Someone who is bossy will try to keep all the power for themselves. A great leader will empower others, cultivate their strengths, and support them in becoming greater versions of themselves.
If I am to find ways to share all of that with my daughter, I have to keep exploring what it means inside of me.
Early this year, because of other reasons, I decided to go into a year long Sadhana with goddess Lalita. Lalita is a Queen goddess. She is the energy of being in charge. She represents power, sovereignty, love, and desire. She is the vibration of being turned-on, the fire of passion, the liquidity of eroticism, the power of attraction. Alluring. Arousing. Alive. She’s not a Girl Boss – she’s a queen. Her queenliness is our ability to draw things towards us by the radiant, attractive energy that we emanate, and also the courage to go for what we want, without forcing or pushing.
Lalita is the integration of feminine power – she’s soft and strong, a ruler, not a tyrant, a queen, not a boss. She is the invitation to become a great leader, to rise and raise others, to be a source of inspiration, and to rule with love.
With the metaphors of Lalita, we can bring the feminine into powerful positions in the corporate world, or into the director’s seat, or into the captain’s cabin. Not by putting a masculine mask over it, disguising its softness and hiding its vulnerability. We don’t have to make the process of becoming the boss about climbing to the top by stepping over other people’s heads. Or staying at the top by severing other people’s heads. We can change that approach. With Lalita in charge, we can cultivate the kind of confidence that it takes to be of service, instead of having servants. We can walk the horizontal path, where we cultivate equality, instead of ascending on a road that takes us to where we are superior to others.
We can teach our children to value the power of femininity. We can introduce a different kind of approach, show them how there are so many different ways to live and lead. We can influence how they view and experience leading and being in charge. We can show them that in order to be strong, they don’t have to be bossy with their friends. We can talk to them about being respectful, about how we can’t control other people, about live and let live. We can share about kindness and equality. We can teach them about diversity. We can emphasize the importance of human rights. And we can support them as they navigate through the challenges of their social life, by talking to them about standing up for themselves in situations where they are being put down.
We don’t have to make bossiness a cherished quality for girls, just because we want them to be empowered. We can do better than that.
What do you think?
Please comment and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear them. Let’s have an open discussion about this. We don’t have to agree. I would just ask that we stay respectful.